Filipinos in Newfoundland fear for family, friends

The devastation caused by the super-typhoon that hit the Philippines on Friday is being felt in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Typhoon destruction making it difficult to get infomation

Filipinos in St. John's area worried about loss of contact, reports Peter Cowan 2:13

The devastation caused by the super-typhoon that hit the Philippines on Friday is being felt in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hundreds of Filipinos now live and work in the province, and many of them are watching with fear and concern for family and friends back home.

Sheron Ceberiou has yet to hear from her family members since Typhoon Haiyan hit.

"I can't sleep, or sometimes I just wake up and check my Facebook (to see) if I have an update with my friends about our home town, instead of a chance to hear anything from my home town, so it's really sad," said Ceberiou.

Official reports suggest the typhoon may have killed 10,000 or more people, but with the slow pace of recovery the official death toll remained well below that.

The Philippine military confirmed 942 dead, but with shattered communications and transportation links, local government officials say the final toll is still days away.

For Filipinos in this province, the images of the devastation are heartbreaking, with entire cities levelled, homes washed away, and hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to find food, water and shelter.

Saw photos of town, home

Ceberiou has seen images of her town, and even her house with the white roof blown off, on Facebook.

She's praying her family members escaped unscathed, but she still doesn't know.

With power and communications infrastructure damaged, she says it's hard to get reliable information.

"I just cross my fingers and hope that they're OK, because there's no communication. So it's almost like, if I haven't heard, it's good. No news is good news right?"

Meanwhile, people in Newfoundland and Labrador have wasted little time banding together to do what they can to help.

A bingo in St. John's this past weekend raised more than $6,000 for the relief effort.

Hazel Alpuerto, a Filipino-Canadian, was in the Philippines when an earthquake struck in mid-October, killing almost 200 people.

"Filipinos are very strong, so we still rise whatever calamities we go through," said Alpuerto, who represents the Philippine government in the province as honourary consul general.

Canada has since pledged more support in the wake of the typhoon, in addition to $5 million offered up Sunday.

Ottawa will also match each dollar donated by Canadians to registered Canadian charities for the Philippines Crisis Matching Fund.

Donations will be accepted until Dec 8.


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